Acoustic and Perceptual Cues to Contrastive Stress in Dysarthria Purpose In this study, the authors sought to understand acoustic and perceptual cues to contrastive stress in speakers with dysarthria (DYS) and healthy controls (HC). Method The production experiment examined the ability of 12 DYS (9 male, 3 female; M = 39 years of age) and 12 age- ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2009
Acoustic and Perceptual Cues to Contrastive Stress in Dysarthria
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rupal Patel
    Northeastern University, Boston, MA
  • Pamela Campellone
    Northeastern University, Boston, MA
  • Contact author: Rupal Patel, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Avenue, Room 102 Forsyth Building, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail: r.patel@neu.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2009
Acoustic and Perceptual Cues to Contrastive Stress in Dysarthria
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2009, Vol. 52, 206-222. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0078)
History: Received April 7, 2007 , Revised November 11, 2007 , Accepted April 16, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2009, Vol. 52, 206-222. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0078)
History: Received April 7, 2007; Revised November 11, 2007; Accepted April 16, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 15

Purpose In this study, the authors sought to understand acoustic and perceptual cues to contrastive stress in speakers with dysarthria (DYS) and healthy controls (HC).

Method The production experiment examined the ability of 12 DYS (9 male, 3 female; M = 39 years of age) and 12 age- and gender-matched HC (9 male, 3 female; M = 37.5 years of age) to signal contrastive stress within short sentences. Acoustic changes in fundamental frequency (F0), intensity, and duration were studied. The perceptual experiment explored whether 48 unfamiliar listeners (24 male, 24 female; M = 23.4 years of age) could identify the intended stress location in DYS and HC productions.

Results Although both speaker groups used all 3 prosodic cues, DYS relied more heavily on duration. Despite reduced F0 and intensity variation within DYS utterances, listeners were highly accurate at identifying both DYS (> 93%) and HC (> 97%) productions. Acoustic predictors of listener accuracy included heightened prosodic cues on stressed words along with marked decreases in these variables for neighboring nonstressed words.

Conclusions Speakers signaled contrastive stress using relative changes in one or more prosodic cue. Although individual speakers employed different cue combinations, listeners were highly adept at discerning the intended stress location. The communicative potential of prosody in speakers with congenital dysarthria is discussed.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by NIH Grant DC-06118 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. This study was conducted in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at Northeastern University. We would like to thank Eldar Sadikov for developing the listener perception interface, Howard Cabral for his invaluable guidance with the statistical analysis and interpretation, and the participants for their time and enthusiasm for the study.
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